Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wonder Woman, the WSOP and JJ Liu

I'm still on vacation at the Outer Banks. A lot of the rain has missed me here. Maybe it's the powerful force associated with the house I'm staying at; it apparently belongs to Lynda Carter aka Wonder Woman. I looked through all the closets, but there are no spare costumes lying around. Too bad, because I'm pretty sure we share the same cleavage.

I booked vacation during the start of the WSOP on purpose. I didn't want to be tempted to stay in Vegas for the whole thing again. I was totally wasted last year. But of course now I'm completely Jonesing about not being there. I have at least three people calling me every day to give me the skinny - and of course I'm pouring over Pauly's blog for updates. And I'm so totally jealous every time I hear how Pauly and Otis are pourin' 'em back at the Hooker Bar. Save a few for me boyz.

I heard it from a reliable source that JJ Liu, 4th place finisher at the Bellagio 5 Diamond WPT Event has not been contacted for the WPT's Ladies Night IV. I truly don't understand this invitational. JJ has a great track record, credibility, is totally cool, and always wears a great hat. They couldn't buy what she could give 'em. I took this picture of JJ at the Venetian poker room opening. I have never had a chance to talk with her, so I'm hoping the WSOP gives me that opportunity. Damn...I'm not there yet.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blondes and Brunettes

Clonie Gowen has thrown down the gauntlet. She has challenged that well-reputed poker ace, Paris Hilton, to a $100,000 match. Yawn. I'm guessing that's as cheap as you can buy Hilton publicity. The money will go to charity (if this stunt ever gets off the ground) which might be the only thing considered worthy in play. And yes, I realize you boyz might have high hopes here. But trust me, this won't end in a pj ripping girly pillow fight.

There is of course better news on the brunette front. First of all, Jen Leo has won a televised seat at the Poker Dome. Of course I'm still bristling about Jen taking my stack at the Blogger's Winter Classic; my QQ vs her K-Jo yada yada yada. So she better vindicate us by bringing home the big bucks on July 9th. [picture of Jen and Al Can't Hang]

Jen and I also have fantasized about doing our own wacky gossipy coverage of the WSOP. And well...we just went ahead and did it. Look for our "unusual" coverage (and I can't even predict what it might entail) at Breakfast Club Poker

Initially I thought I would like taking a week off of the WSOP. Last year I was so totally burned out by the end. But I'm really struggling here at the Outer Banks - even with this view from my house - about not being there.

I have a double edge sword issue for the radio show this week. Tom McEvoy has agreed to be our guest, provided he doesn't make it deep into the previous day's tournament. I really like Tom and I feel he has an unique perspective about the WSOP and the change and growth of poker over the past years. But surely I want him to make the money? I hate these ethical dilemmas.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I See Dead People and Big Stack Play

On Wednesday I went to the National Military Park in Vicksburg and meandered through the battlefield. Thursday was a driving day and Friday I spent on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Like every poker junkie, I looked for poker lessons every where I went. This trip has had me thinking about big stack play.

Vicksburg sits high on a bluff, overlooking the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. The Confederates held the high ground. In Chattanooga, the Confederates held Lookout Mountain and later Missionary Ridge - again the high ground in the battles that would ensue. High ground is a huge advantage, much as having the big stack at your table. As a short stack, or holding the short stack, you know you're in for a protracted battle if you have a shot at winning. And both civil war battles were long sieges, where the Union eventually prevailed. Having a big stack is an advantage, but it's not a panacea. While Lookout Mountain was never taken by the Union army, the Confederate eventually abandoned it. There was little that they could do with the position. Because of the sheer cliff at the top, the conferred had to expose themselves any time they tried to pick off the Union below - just as a big stack exposes themselves every time they try to sheriff a small stack. Having a big stack and knowing how to play it are two different things.

Not that this has too much relevance for me, the consummate small stack player. One of the things I hope to work on in Vegas is getting and playing a big stack.

Today is another travel day as I continue to make my way eastward for the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dead Money and On the Road

Well I played my best dead money game for the PokerStars Blogger tournament on Sunday. I think I finished 396th and never was a contender. My NLHE game has been unimaginative and lackluster as of late. I'm hoping that hanging out with my poker road trip buddies (the 2 bills, mike, and tim) will get me back on track. With them calling me a wuss everyday, I should be able to kick it up a notch. Of course zippy will be the biggest wuss, because he's a no-show.

If you haven't checked out Maudie's new look, give her a peak. Maudie's like me. Before taking on a new direction or project, she cleans house - in this case her blog. Before I work on my dissertation, my bathrooms sparkle.

I'm actually on the road this week. Like BJ, sometimes I just need an ubber road trip. I drove from Austin to Vicksburg yesterday and I will leave for Chattanooga tomorrow. The plan is to hit the Outer Banks in North Carolina by Sunday where I will watch the ocean for a week. I figure if I'm going to spend over a month in the hot dry desert, I want a fresh memory of water to take with me. If all goes according to plan, I should be internet enabled the whole way. It's funny how my needs have changed over the last few years. I don't need running water, but internet is a must. Luckily at my b&b they have both. I guess that's why FEMA lived here for the duration.

Tomorrow I will be posting with my impressions of Vicksburg - another post river economy, current casino economy town.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Father's Day

My father has been dead for many years now, but I think of him often. He was second generation Armenian. His parents came to this country to escape the 1915 Armenian genocide. If I inherited my gambling genes, he was undoubtedly the source. I don't remember him playing poker, but he loved craps, gin, bridge and backgammon. He spent probably too many of his high school years shooting pool in East Cambridge where he grew up. He described himself as the typical high school kid of his day, more concerned with the jitterbug than world affairs. That changed with WW II.

My father was a co-pilot in the 450th Bombardment Group stationed in Manduria Italy. In the picture above, he is the one on the right. He flew the B-24, nicknamed the Liberator. So much of what he became and how he defined himself grew out of his involvement in WW II. Like many of the people who fought in WW II, he was very proud of his historical contribution. Also like many of his peers who spent their youth witnessing the realities of war, he harbored few illusions about its toll. Marvin Stock, the flight engineer for my father's plane, dedicated his website about the 450th with these words: "Dedicated to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I hope you will understand the horrors of war from these few pages. May you never have to participate in any future war." In the last few years, I've listened to a lot crap about what makes people patriotic. These men were patriots. They fought the good fight. They were not pro war. They knew war.

My father taught me many things. He taught me to play cards. He taught me to swear. He taught me to dance. He taught me to golf. But most of all, he taught me the importance of defending civil rights and preserving human life, no matter how dangerous, unpopular to the majority, or politically inconvenient that stand might be. Of everything he taught me, that's the lesson I hope I got right...or left as it is often perceived.

To George Garoian, my father, who I loved very much.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bloggers, The WSOP, and the IRS

I'm finally spiritually ready for Vegas. My plans and logistics have changed daily over the last weeks, but I'm ready to lock and load. Today I will seal the deal on a nice sublet. It is apparently not frequented by crack whores, so I think we're all going to have to defer to Pauly's blog during the WSOP for coverage of that hallowed Vegas action.

I'm looking forward to kicking off my trip right with the WPBT Summer Classic. I had such a blast at the Winter Classic, although there were some things I missed out on. I never got the hammer during the tournament; not once. I never had my picture taken with Al Can't Hang. (I see my secret is out - I do have a crush on the big guy - who doesn't?) And I didn't make the money. I'm looking forward to addressing all those issues this year. In anticipation of the Classic, all my blog pictures today are from the Winter Classic, starting out with Whiskeytown. Whiskytown needs some help getting back his poker mojo. I think the Summer Classic is up to the job.

While I liked Whiskey's T-Shirt, this was another that I liked. If you have trouble reading it, it says, "If poker was easy, it would be called your mom." How sweet.

I noticed that the Gold Coast is having a supersat for the WSOP ladies event on the 7th; maybe jet lag will give me the edge. They are going to cap it at 200 players and I'm guessing it will be jammed. Last year I got almost no poker in at the WSOP. I think my bubble performance in the media event was the only time I touched cards in 47 days. It was painful. This year, I will be working the other side of the work/play equation.

Last night Lou Krieger and I had an interesting guest on Hold'em radio. Randi Levenbaum is a financial planner, a poker player, and a devout participant of the Wednesday Poker Discussion Group in Las Vegas. She had great financial planning advice for poker players. She is also a kindred spirit relative to living life on the cheap. I think I've met my match in comp whoring. I'm definitely going to pick Randi's brain in Vegas for scoring deals. She also talked about taxes and backing. So many people go into backing and sharing deals during the WSOP - and inevitably someone gets the short end of the IRS stick. Guys - if you're exchanging action or backing, you need this IRS form filled out when you get your payout.

Well I better get off my ass and start executing on my WSOP plans. I leave you with this picture of Pauly, showing blogger love.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blog Therapy and Movin' Blues

It's 4:30am and I've exhausted my capacity to sleep for the night. I've been wound like a clock lately. I'm usually laid back and even keeled, but I'm starting to stress with the vision of what my next few weeks and months are really going to entail. As therapy, I decided to visit Felicia's blog as she is one woman that is unapologetically and unabashedly wound. It was just what I needed.

The blogs I gravitate to most are those that give me a strong sense of the writer. There are now plenty of non-blog sources of poker information. If I want hand histories and bad beats, any forum will do. I read poker blogs, for the most part, to learn more about other people who have been drawn to this game; their motivation, their learning process, their background, and what point in the fulcrum they've chosen to balance life and poker. I'm a blog voyeur which means you really have to expose yourself in your blog to float my boat. Felicia kicks ass in this regard.

Although I had been a long time reader of Felicia's blog, I hadn't met her until the 2005 WSOP. Within the first two minutes of conversation, I could feel a smile creep over my face. I think I actually blurted out, "Oh my god. You're just like your blog." In retrospect, I think that is probably the highest compliment you can pay a blogger. I hope she took it that way.

I've thought a lot about this as I rebirth my blog and luckily there's been some nice guidance recently about what makes a good blog from some of my favorite bloggers; High on Poker kicked off a good discussion, Bill Rini had a nice part one and two, and Felicia weighed in with who she likes and why.

As further therapy today I took Sammy to the vet, cleaned the bathrooms,went for my daily walk before the sun scorched the earth, and closed with quality time in the jacuzzi. I feel a little better now.

Part of my angst is finally coming to terms with the fact that my blog home is just temporary. I really have to move it to my own domain, something I've been in denial about since it's rebirth. And if I'm moving domains, I might as well bite the bullet on transitioning to a new software platform. I know all of this will drive me nuts (short drive) and be an inconvenience for y'all. I promise to contact linkers and leave my new home address here when the time comes - which could be very soon.

Another part of my angst is obsessing about the WSOP. Last year I worked fourteen hours a day for forty-seven straight days. Lou Krieger still likes to tease me about how bad I looked towards the end. If it wasn't for Cyndy Violette and her chef Sassy nourishing me every day, I would have collapsed. And if it weren't for Otis, Pauly, BJ, Jen, John, Jay Greenspan, Steve Hall, Dan, and my family away from home, LasVegasVegas, I would have gone insane. I'm not working as many hours nor as many days this year, so that should help. And just reading Pauly's post about the 2005 WSOP was even more therapy. I went from stressed to stoked in just one blog read; I can't wait for the group grope.

Oh and btw, Wicked Chops featured Jen in their BlogFiles this week. It's superb. There are so many great lines but my favorite was when they asked Jen what would indicate that poker had jumped the shark and she responded, "When Mike Paulle replaces Phil Hellmuth Jr. as the analyst on Celebrity Poker Showdown." She's a peach. But I can't believe they didn't tell the story about Jen, this guy, the go-go dancer and the best $10 I ever spent in Vegas.

As Scarlett said,"Tomorrow is another day." And thanks to some great blog reads today, I'll be ready.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Burning and Churning

Man it's a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun
- Santana

The heat is on. If I need to do anything that requires leaving the house it has to be before 9:30am or after 7:00pm unless it's a trip to the pool. While most Texans are planning their escape to cooler climates, I am finalizing my plans to spend the summer in the only place hotter than the Lone Star state.

I have attended at least part of the WSOP for the last five years; as an observer, a freelancer or under contract. While I knew I was not going miss going out this year, I had no firm idea of the whats and whens. And with the current changes in the media restrictions, many of the media players had no idea either.

I had been keeping my options open and had thrown out a few proposals to a number of outlets - but I was actually leaning toward making this year's Vegas venture a combination of personal schmooze-fest, dissertation writing escape, with a little satellite action on the side.

Thursday my planets aligned. It seemed like every idea or seed I planted in the last couple of months, WSOP or otherwise, came to fruition. The phone kept ringing off the wall. If I played the lottery, my numbers would have hit. I'm sure that some of these will die on the vine, but it was sure nice to get washed over by a positive wave for a change.

My needs are pretty simple. I'm definitely low maintenance on the financial front. But in life's exercise of feast and famine, dealing with feast beats the shit out of managing famine. But just in case I wasn't paying attention to the cosmic challenge, I had a dream Thursday night. The recently deceased John Kenneth Galbraith spoke to me as I slept. He whispered, "It is a shame that you didn't use your last hours wisely." The message that my dissertation chair's father came from his ultimate slumber to disturb mine was not lost on me.

I didn't get much play in this week, but I did manage to play and money in an online Omaha hi/lo MTT. I'm three for three in my last Omaha hi/lo MTTs; two online and one live. It had been awhile since I had gone back to my Omaha roots as the NLHE action is often too hard to pass up. It feels good. I think a lot my malaise with poker had to do with drifting too far afield from my personal poker zone. I think I'll put my playing energy more solidly in Omaha until the WSOP. If my head stays in the game, I may take a shot at a couple of satellites for the $3000 buy-in. (picture of Kathy Liebert's hands)

On a lighter note (and another sure way to escape the dissertation anvil precariously hanging overhead) I was looking (obsessing) at my blog stats. Some of the more interesting ways people searched their way to the blog:

more ass
liz lieu cleavage
pimping radio
Sabina ass
Amy cleavage
Athens whorehouse
dd pizza poughkeepsie

On the international reader front, the following additional countries have navigated their way here: The Netherlands, Chile, Faroe Islands, Malaysia, The Russian Federation, Libya, Slovenia, Bermuda, and Cyprus.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Betting To My Balls

I like poker for a lot of the same reasons I like investing; if you make wise risk vs. return decisions, you are paid off in the long run. If you are the first one to notice a good opportunity in the stock market, there is minimal risk to being early; it's like betting a great draw on the flop. But you do have to look at it over the long haul.

My dalliance with sports betting is obviously short-term, relegated to the occasional cheap bet when I'm in Vegas. This week I suffered a slight case of short-term remorse. My bet in Vegas last week was on Matt Kenseth to win the Coca Cola 600. This week Kenseth prevailed at Dover. I'm not exactly prophetic as Kenseth is having a great year. I just suspected that he was better than his odds, which will undoubtedly and unfortunately start reflecting what I knew last week.

I say I only had a slight case of short term remorse. It's because I just finished reading The Odds: One Season, Three Gamblers and the Death of Their Las Vegas. This is a great book that chronicles a sports betting season from three perspectives: the guys setting the line at the Stardust, a newbie, and a professional. The reason why I got it in the first place is that the professional is poker player Alan Boston.

I remember the first time I noticed Alan Boston. I was walking through the crowded tournament room during the 2005 WSOP when I heard someone say, "This is going to be hard for me. I'm doing this without Percocet and Red Bull today." When I turned around to see who said it, there was Alan Boston, shooting me a mischievous grin. For the remainder of the WSOP, I usually got a song from Boston when I passed.

I actually was stressed reading the book. As Boston would lay out upwards of 70K on a day's worth of games day after day, I started to sweat. I laughed at myself. I was worried about the outcome of bets placed more than five years ago.

I like making risky bets with a good probability of high returns. I can back my research with money. I have that passion. But my frugal nature prevents me from betting to my balls; that and the lack of balls. I wonder sometimes how my fiscal conservatism impacts my ability as a poker player. On the professional circuit I have certainly seen a prevalence for betting to the balls among top players; whether on a poker felt, the craps and black jack tables, or the sports book. Reading Otis' post reminded me of that this week. It is a common enough trait among players that I wonder sometimes if it is a necessary trait. You must play without fear. I get that. I rationalize that playing without fear of losing your buy-in is different than playing without the fear of losing your entire bankroll. I can't do the latter...and maybe that means I'm really fooling myself about the former. Or maybe the pros do the former so well that the latter becomes meaningless. There are a few nits like me among the pros, but admittedly few. Although I'm fairly certain the Chris Ferguson has never put so much as a nickel in a slot machine or a dime on a game. I suspect he maintains tighter controls on his bankroll than the Federal Reserve.

I am cheap. One of my first articles for Woman Poker Player Magazine was entitled, "I'm Cheap and I'm Proud." In it I claimed that when I died, my tombstone would read "She Got Good Value." My recent underwear purchase will serve as a good example. I normally buy underwear twice a year in quantity at an outlet mall forty-five miles from my house. A few weeks ago, my jockeys were telling me it was time. But things had changed since my last visit; gas prices. I actually worked out on a spreadsheet that for the quantity of underwear I was purchasing, factoring in the gas, it was cheaper for me to drive ten miles to the mall to a department store offering a 25% sale than driving the forty-five miles for the outlet's standard 35% off. The fact that I also found a clearance rack with a few pairs my size for an additional 15% off was icing on the cake. I would go through the same exercise when I was making six figures in high tech. It's almost more philosophical than financial.

I relish betting in poker when I'm getting good value, but I don't think I'll ever be able to bet to my balls. Is this just practical, a leak, or both?

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 6841054

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Flashbacks, Escorts, and Seats. Oh My.

I see from the comments that my OZ reference triggered a dream flashback for bill. Wildbill is one of my trusted poker road buddies. While I never want him at my poker table, he is coveted company for drunken pai gow (dealers and pit bosses have formed an "I had bill at my table" support group), blackjack and baccarat. It seems bill had a disturbing dream where he was sweating me during an Omaha session. I was apparently garbed in blue gingham with requisite pigtails. I also had very very hairy legs, triggering another bill flashback to a past encounter with a pair of Swedish sisters. I'll let the pokershrink sort out the psychological implications.

But bill has bigger fish to fry this week as he is one of those unlucky Washington State online players. He has made a tidy little bankroll for himself over the years. And as bill is a solid citizen, the IRS has been a beneficiary of his online activities. Bill has now ceased online play per the new state law banning most online gaming.

I've never accused lawmakers of consistency, and apparently those in Washington State dodge that bullet with aplomb. Washington State has legal card rooms. Washington State will also continue to allow online horse wagering.

According to the Seattlepi, Washington State Gambling Commission Director Rick Day says they aren't targeting the online players, who now face felony charges, up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. (Imagine the penalties if they were going after online players) "Day said his priorities are to go after national and international promoters or operators based in Washington state -- and increasingly, to warn gamblers about the risks and illegality of the activity." Gosh. How many online sites are located in Washington State? Zero? And what's the probability that Washington State will either seek or successfully prosecute offshore online gaming establishments? Zero?

Frankly, I think the first state to legalize it, tax it, and regulate will be the biggest winner. Imagine the tax revenue, unique protection to its participating citizens, and the high tech jobs it would represent. Legalizing online would also level the playing field for B&M competitors, holding online enterprises to the same standards and tax liability.

As for bill, he has shown great imagination when it comes to vice. I'm sure he will survive.

My brother is a man of ritual; he has many in Vegas. One of them is collecting the escort cards handed out on the streets. He feels he is helping the local economy this way. He suspects that the mostly immigrant population gets paid by the card. These, after all, must be the "valuable jobs that many Americans won't perform" mentioned in the great immigration debate. Helping them achieve must be of value also.

Like the kids with their baseball cards in the movie Big, he walks down the street announcing, "Got it. Got it. Need it. Got it. Need it." At the end of the trip, he declares a winner, based on quantity. This year he had a conundrum. It seems one talented lass had eight cards; four cards under the name of Jenna and four under the name of Jenny. Samantha, at seven, was the next most prevalent. He wasn't sure of the scoring technicalities. The issue remains unresolved.

I got an email from Michael Craig last night to say he scored his $10,000 seat for the WSOP Championship event last night on Full Tilt. Right behind it was an email from Oliver Tse. Oliver had already won his main event seat, along with two preliminary event seats. Last night's note was to inform me that he made the televised final table at the National Poker League Tournament at Caesars. The final is played today and Oliver will start out second in chips. I understand that Tse will be wearing Full Tilt garb for the event. Good luck Oliver. And congrats Michael.

I am fast realizing that I should have spent less time looking for a WSOP writing gig and instead should have invested in a little qualification time. Although that would be yet another case of poker defeating the work ethic I suppose.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Vegas' OZ and NASCAR Odds

The Bellagio courtyard was strange, reminding me of the scene where Dorothy battles the evil orchard in the Wizard of Oz. Most of it was a dark sinister forest with red, white and blue kites and American flags flying from the gnarled trees. The other part was electric trains running through the constructed wilderness. It would have been totally creepy had there not been hoards of giggling Japanese school girls taking each other's picture against a backdrop of twisted tree trunks.

Usually I get in a number of Bellagio fountain views; this visit yielded none. High winds and technical problems thwarted each attempt. I did manage three different MGM lion encounters. Last weeks lions included Dusty, Bijou, Samantha, Peaches and Tara. Sasha was the last lioness we encountered. I initially thought it strange that she was by herself. Then I saw her completely, and repeatedly, decimate a large plastic ball with her large jaws and thought her isolation was all for the best.

Matt Gets Luckycc asked in an earlier comment whether my brother was feeling up the statue. In this picture he was indeed doing just that. I'm sorry to report that this was about as close to "lucky" as he got in Vegas. I am happy to report, however, that the pressure of the blog and Jen Leo was too much for Matt to endure. His facial hair was gone by mid-visit.

I had hoped to display Matt's impressive escort card collection in this post, but Blogger hasn't fixed their photo upload issues yet. I've been using a workaround, by uploading to Flickr and manipulating the code. But Flickr's guidelines frown on frontal nudity, so the collection will have to wait. And with the few pictures that I've loaded, I have already made a huge dent in the free monthly allowance. As cheap as I am, I'm desperately hoping that Blogger gets back on track by Monday.

I am not a regular sports bettor. Every once in awhile I get a wild hair to develop my own statistical analysis for a sport, running regressions on any number of factors. But I know it's all been done before and anything I developed would be unlikely to change the sports betting universe. Still someday I'd like to play around with it.

When I'm in Vegas, I sometimes throw down a cheap sports bet. Sunday I bet on the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Speedway. I had been watching the line all week on Jimmie Johnson,the field favorite. He started the week at 5-to-1, which probably wasn't bad odds for Johnson. He practically owns the track, winning something like seven times there. By Sunday, the odds closed in at 5-to-2 on Johnson, which I just didn't feel comfortable with. There are too many factors that a driver can't control. When I was here a year ago, I watched the AAron's 499 at Talledaga from the Mirage sports book. On lap 132, a 25 car pile up took out most of the field. Instead I decided to go with Matt Kenseth at 8-1. Kenseth had won this race as a rookie and finished 3rd here in 2004. The picture is from his website. Kenseth qualified in 6th. He was running well but had a problem in the pits around the 70 lap mark, dropping him from about sixth place to 35th. He fought his way back to third place, but ultimately finished in 5th place. Jimmie Johnson came in second behind the winner, Kasey Kahne.

Well hopefully Blogger will fix their picture uplaod issues soom, enabling escort photos and possibly a post Vegas bathing suit shot.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Vegas Highs and Hi/Lo's

Vegas was everything I needed to get past my poker malaise. The city was jammed for the holiday weekend. People were drunk by 10:00 am. The tables were brimming with tourists. Even my brother was able to find a low-limit stud game whenever he wanted. Granted, his tables were brimming with retirees.

We invested our cash game dollars at the Mirage. While I wanted to get in a little Omaha hi/lo, I didn't love the one table that was in play. The 5/10 with a full kill looked like it was populated with people that actually knew what to do with four cards. If I was looking for fun and ignorance, I figured my best chance was the 3/6 hold'em game.

There are times when I just can't resist a low-limit hold'em game. The amusement factor is just too good to pass up. The first night I played I found an entertaining table with a mix of about 50% regulars and 50% tourists. I had a rounders moment when I realized that the regulars and I were parked for the night as we took turns relieving the tourists of their money. The regulars told me that the week before, a woman had passed out drunk on her chips. They literally played around her until the EMS got there. They actually called the floor over to ask if they could blind her off. I put in less than three hours at the table and made $68 dollars and three screwdrivers. The only real surprise of the evening was when my pocket aces held up.

I played a few more sessions in the 3/6 game, all with good financial and entertainment payback. I think my favorite moment came at a table with two locals to my left - the rest were totally clueless. At one point two buddies sat down at the table. Our brash new companions figured themselves as the sharks. In the first hand they played, one of them raised UTG. Raising does little in these games. Preceded by three callers, I called from the small blind with 8-5 soooted. The flop brought two of my suit. I called the flop and turn bets from the kid. By the river, it was just us. The river brought a perfect card, the ace of my suit. I figured the kid for an ace. When I bet out, he called saying, "I think you have me outkicked." Before I even turned over my cards, the two locals said in unison, "She has the flush, you idiot." The kid showed the A-9o. And so it went.

As fun as this was, I still needed my Omaha hi/lo fix. I decided my best bet was the Orleans rebuy tourney. It had a pretty decent showing for Omaha hi/lo with 77 players, with payouts starting at 10th. It was the typical Orleans crowd; mostly locals. I bought in for $40 with another $5 for the dealer pool 25% chip adder. I rebought for $20 as soon as I sat down. At the end of the rebuy period I bought the double add on for another $20.

I played pretty tight during the rebuy period, but still added to my stack. The guy to my left was ubber aggressive and had to rebuy twice. In the rebuy period, he also did four shots of Jager, accompanied by four bud lites. The tables played down pretty fast, and unfortunately so did my stack. When the TD announced there were 12 players, I had less than the blinds. I thought it was going to be another bubble finish. As I'm deciding my strategy, the TD announced that there were two all-ins at the other table. They both busted, and I was in the money.

When final table play started, I was the short stack with 1800; the blinds were 700/1500. I suggested a ten-way chop to a chorus of nine laughers. Mr. Jager was on his 9th shot. The guy to my right had a decent stack and joked, "I bet I'm the one to go out tenth." Before the blinds got to me, two people busted, one of them my prophetic friend. I joked that I was going to fold my way to victory. When the blinds got to me, Mr. Jager raised the button. I announced I was calling in the dark. My 4-6-6-T looked pretty ugly next to his A-2-6-Q double suited, but the case 6 fell and we chopped the pot. I folded my sb and waited. This is primarily how it went, me folding the round and hitting on my bb. At no time did I have chips to make it through the blind. By the time it got down to five, the table was totally pissed at me - except Mr Jager, who was happily on his 12th shot. My luck ran out in third place with a payout of $550. Mr Jager went on to win.

With poker content out of the way, my next post will be the "other" side of Vegas.

(and for some reason I'm having picture upload issues, so I'll try to add more later in the day)